Letter from Msgr. Schaedel for bulletin of May 27, 2001

Dear Parishioners,

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend, also known as "Race Weekend" here in Indianapolis. We welcome all visitors to our city and especially to our parish. It is an exciting time to be in Indianapolis. I spent seventeen years living in parishes in the West Deanery. Life in or around Speedway was quite something else around Race Day!

Monday, May 28, is Memorial Day. Our only Mass here that day will be at 9:00 a.m. (Latin Mass). There will be no 5:30 p.m. Mass on Memorial Day.

I recommend that everyone try to attend Mass here or at one of our Catholic Cemeteries on Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a day when we remember those men and women, living and deceased, who fought bravely for our country. Let’s remember all of our deceased brothers and sisters this Memorial Day in our prayers and thoughts. Because of them, we enjoy a legacy of faith, freedom, and life.

Msgr. Richard Lawler, Dean of the South Deanery, will celebrate Mass at Noon at Calvary Cemetery here on the South side. I will celebrate a Noon Mass at Our Lady of Peace Cemetery. Calvary is 435 West Troy Avenue. Our Lady of Peace is at 86th and Haverstick Road. Haverstick is the first street West of Keystone. I will remember all Holy Rosary Parishioners, living and deceased, as I celebrate Mass Monday.

In the autumn of 1999, the Indiana bishops jointly agreed to transfer the liturgical celebration of the Ascension to the Seventh Sunday of Easter. This was done for several reasons. This idea of "moving a day" is not restricted to liturgical calendars. My birthday was Monday, March 12. But this year we celebrated it on Sunday, March 11; because that was the day when my parents and family could most conveniently get together at my sister and brother-in-law’s house. But the birthday itself was not moved; it’s still March 12. (No, it’s not a holyday of obligation—perhaps it should be—but you get the idea!) We celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday of May, but we know that Memorial Day is May 30th.

A common misunderstanding is that the actual "feast day" is moved. What is moved is the liturgical celebration that commemorates the feast. The 40-day Easter cycle is not disturbed by this decision. No one can move Ascension Thursday to Ascension Sunday. Thursdays are not Sundays. What is moved is the obligation to celebrate Mass that day and to commemorate the feast on that day.

In some instances, numbers take on a meaning beyond their numerical value. For example, the number 7 is considered lucky, but the number 13 suggests misfortune. In the Bible, a favorite number is 40. It appears ninety times in the Old and New Testaments. Recall that the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years and that Jesus spent 40 days in fasting and prayer.

Forty in the Bible is an indefinite number. Its real significance is that it indicates a period of time during which God accomplishes His purpose. During 40 years in the desert the Israelites were prepared by God to enter the Promised Land. And over 40 days in the desert Jesus was prepared by His Father to begin His public ministry.

Saint Luke tells us in the Acts of the Apostles "In the time after His suffering Jesus showed them (His disciples) in many convincing ways that He was alive, appearing to them over the course of 40 days and speaking to them about the reign of God." (Acts 1:3) After these 40 days Jesus ascended into heaven.

Taking the "40 days" in a literal sense led the Liturgy to celebrate the Ascension of Jesus into heaven precisely 40 days after Easter, which meant that the Ascension was to be celebrated on a Thursday, and it was to be a holyday of obligation. This presented no problem in a much earlier time in Christian Europe when holy days were holidays too. It became apparent in the United States very few people were making it to Mass on Ascension Thursday since it was a workday. I won’t debate here whether this is good or bad—excusable or inexcusable—we just have to face the facts.

Many Americans bishops acted, with the approval of the Vatican, to move the celebration of the Ascension from Thursday to the following Sunday so that more Catholics could participate in the Liturgy of the Ascension. This group of bishops now includes the bishops of the State of Indiana. All but sixteen states celebrate Ascension on Sunday. This year, it’s May 27th.

The ascension of Jesus manifests the nature of His resurrection. God the Father did not raise Jesus from the dead so that He could resume His earthly existence as did His friend, Lazarus, after Jesus had raised him from the dead. Rather, God the Father, through the resurrection, exalted His Son as Lord and Head of the Church. On the day of Pentecost, Saint Peter stood before a vast crowd and declared that "Jesus exalted at God’s right hand (in heaven) first received the promised Holy Spirit from the Father and then poured out this Spirit upon us." (Acts 2:32-33)

The ascension of Jesus marked the end of His ministry on this earth in His own person so that His ministry might continue in the Church through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The move to a Sunday celebration reflects more than a pastoral concern of the bishops for their people. It also recognizes that the ascension of Jesus into heaven completes for us the meaning of His resurrection. Since Sunday is the preeminent day of the resurrection, it is most appropriate that the Ascension also be celebrated on a Sunday.

Our elementary school, Central Catholic, has 8th grade graduation this Wednesday, May 30. Roncalli High School graduation is Sunday, June 3. Several Catholic Home School students will finish 8th grade or graduate from high school this June too. This includes our faithful sacristan and M.C., Steve DeCrane. Pray for all graduates!

The ordinations for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis will be next Saturday, June 2, at 10:00 a.m. at our Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. Two men will be ordained. One is Rev. Mr. Rob Hausladen from our neighboring Good Shepherd Parish. Everyone is invited. If any of our young men considering the priesthood would like a "front row seat," let me know.

This Wednesday, May 30th, at 7:00 p.m., we will have an organizational meeting for the Italian Street Festival. Some of you have been doing it for years! David Page and Matthew Iaria, co-chairs of the festival, seem to have everything in order as well as some new ideas for 2001.

Remember our Italian Street Festival is Friday, June 8, and Saturday, June 9, 5:00 until 11:00 p.m. If you would like to volunteer to help, please call the parish office. We do need some workers. We will also need help in preparing for the festival during the week of June 4.

Saturday, June 9, there will be two English Masses: 4:30 p.m. (as usual) and 7:00 p.m. The Catholic Choir of Indianapolis will sing at both Masses. We are looking forward to that! The procession with the statue of Our Lady and Mass is on Saturday before the 7:00 p.m. Mass. The procession begins down Stevens Street at 6:45 p.m. with Mass beginning at approximately 7:00 p.m. That weekend we will be celebrating the Feast of the Holy Trinity." Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit—and—for good weather!

We invite youngsters of school age to participate in the procession. The second graders from our Central Catholic School who have just made their First Holy Communion this Spring will participate. Some other children will be dressed in native Italian costumes, which the parish provides. If you are interested, call the parish office at 636-4478. There are flyers in the back of church advertising our festival. Take a few to spread the word.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. Summer will be off and running!

Faithfully yours in God’s Providence,

Msgr. Schaedel